Introduction: More Than Just Your Average Burger
Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of trying the "Elvis Burger" at a local restaurant. At first I was wary of the listed ingredients: peanut butter, bacon, and banana, but after hearing the waiter's glowing recommendation I decided that I had to give it a shot.
I found that the combination of the salty peanut butter and bacon went together wonderfully with the sugary sweet bananas. I knew that I had to recreate the recipe so that I could show both family and friends how delicious this odd combination could be.
Step 1: Ingredients
Approximate quantities per burger:
5 oz Ground Chuck Beef
1 Brioche Bun
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1 Strip Thick Cut Bacon
1/2 Ripe Banana
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
A Splash of Rum
Step 2: Baking the Bacon
I prefer cooking the bacon in the oven as I find that the timing is more forgiving than cooking on a pan. Adding a piece of parchment paper can further improve the technique by both limiting the amount of grease left in the pan and preventing oil/grease from splattering all over the oven walls.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Select a rimmed baking sheet and lay out a piece of parchment paper that is twice the width of the sheet. Place your bacon in a single layer on the parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over and gently press it down so that the bacon is completely covered.
Bake in the preheated oven for 13-20 minutes or until the bacon reaches the desired crispiness. Pat the bacon dry with a paper towel.
Step 3: Making the Banana Topping
This banana topping adds a sweet balance to the salty peanut butter and bacon toppings.
Cut two bananas into 1/2 inch slices. Melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until the brown sugar has dissolved, leaving a thick sauce. Add the banana slices and the sauce and cook for a couple minutes until the bananas become soft. Add the splash of rum and then reduce the sauce for another minute.
Set aside until the burgers are assembled.
Pro tip: if you have any of the banana topping left over it makes a delicious addition to a sundae.
Step 4: Forming the Burger Patties
In order to form the best burgers I prefer using ground chuck that has ground fairly finely. Using finely ground beef allows you to really work and shape the beef to the desired shape without leaving any of the cracks/creases that sometimes split open during cooking.
You can either measure out the weight of the burgers or eyeball the amount of beef that you want to use. I measured out about 5 ounces for each burger. Next I took each portion of beef and really squished and reshaped it until I could no longer see any lines indicating the direction that the meat went through the grinder. I then formed a rough ball and began flattening it out to form a patty. It helps to use the buns that you have selected as a gauge of how flat to make the burgers. I formed mine so that the burgers would be just a little bit larger than the bun. After flattening I usually slowly spin the burger on one palm while using the other to smooth out the edges.
Season both sides each burger with a bit of salt and pepper.
Step 5: Cooking the Burgers With a Sous Vide Circulator
If you have access to a Sous Vide circulator I highly recommend using it to cook the burgers. They leave almost no room for error and are incredibly easy to operate. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of sous vide cooking it is essentially a temperature controlled water bath that raises the temperature of the food to match the temperature of the water. Setting the water to a specific temperature will result in the food being cooked to that same exact temperature given enough time.
If you do not have access to a Sous Vide circulator then the burgers can be cooked using your favorite technique. The next step demonstrates grilling the burgers.
Preheat the circulator to the desired temperature. Approximate temperatures are listed below. I like my burgers to be on the rare side of medium rare so I chose 130 F.
If you have a food vacuum sealer then vacuum seal the burger patties. If you do not then a seal-able Ziploc bag will work fine. Place the patty in the Ziploc bag and seal all but the center two inches of the bag. Slowly lower the bag into the water. The pressure of the water against the side of the bag will force any air out of the opening at the top of the bag. Lower the bag until only the seal is barely above the water and seal the bag completely. There should be almost no air left in the bag. Leave the bag in the water bath until the burgers are done cooking, at least 1.5 hours. Don't worry if the burgers cook longer than that as the temperature of the meat will never surpass the temperature of the water.
After the burgers are done cooking in the Sous Vide bath remove the burgers from the bags and pat them dry with a paper towel. Get a pan searing hot and sear both sides of the patties for no longer than 45 seconds each side.
Medium Rare: 134F/56C
Medium Well: 150F/65C
Step 6: Cooking the Burgers on the Grill
Preheat the grill to a medium heat. After preheated dab a paper towel with vegetable oil and use tongs to spread the oil on the grill grates. This will help prevent the burgers from sticking to the grill and potentially falling apart.
Place the burgers on the preheated grill and close the grill cover. After approximately 4-5 minutes check the burgers. I usually like to flip them once the top just begins to change to a light brown color. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Check the temperature of the burgers by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the burgers. The temperatures provided on the last step can be used as a guide.
Toasted buns: if you would like to toast the buns I recommend adding them to the top rack of the grill at the same time you flip the burgers. You may want to check the buns before the burgers are done as they can easily burn.
Step 7: Assembling the Burger
First split open the bun and place the burger patty on the open bun. Next place a large dollop of peanut butter on top of the patty. I used around 2 Tbsp. Next spoon some banana slices onto the peanut butter. Make sure you get some of the sauce that the bananas were cooked in as this really adds to the flavor. Place strips of bacon atop the banana slices and finally top with the bun. This burger should not need any additional condiments.
Enjoy and feel free to comment to let others know how delicious this strange sounding burger can be!